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Highlights from an industry high: 1996's MINExpo even more upbeat than the 1992 version.

This year's edition of MINExpo was, if anything, more lively than its predecessor. Even the carpeting in the booths and aisles seemed cushier. But that did not help an estimated 8,000 who stood in line up to three hours to sign up when over 32K had registered by the first day. And the number of exhibitors was at record level as well, with over 1,100 showing their wares, pressing some ballroom space in the adjacent Hilton Hotel into service.

Invariably, MINExpo espoused an industry trend in an unofficial theme: globalization. A glance into the next four years that not only end the decade but launch a new millennium, shows major mergers that result in larger but fewer mining companies: world-based rather than local service providers; and, predictably, advanced, affordable computerization. With that comes single-sourcing, efficient operations at a height before unseen, and pared down workforces. Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the exhibition hosted delegates from more than 65 countries, and featured manufacturers from all around the world.

Mining, with exceptions, has traditionally been more evolutionary than revolutionary. So too was much of the technology in evidence at MINExpo as most of the new models reflected tweaking of preexisting models.

In addition to heavy equipment, MINExpo highlighted all features of the industry: helicopters, conveyors, computers, mine planning and equipment maintenance software, miners' clothing, submersible pumps, cables, lubricants, laser range finders, magazines, tires, concentrators, and coal haulers.

The range of equipment on display was so enormous that a comprehensive listing of the newest items would fill many issues of E&MJ (the exhibit catalog ran nearly 200 pages!). In the coming months, we will cover more of the new equipment introduced at MINExpo in our regular product sections.

Atlas Copco. The Atlas Copco group displayed its complete product range for the mining industry. Apart from the classic Atlas Copco rock drilling equipment, this now includes LHDs (formerly Wagner) and raise boring equipment from the Robbins line.

The Simba H157 is a drill rig specifically designed for the mechanization of narrow vein mining. It has a width of only 1.2 m and a height (with protective roof) of 1.96 m. It can be used in drifts as narrow as 2.5 x 2.5 m to drill a 360 [degrees] ring pattern or parallel holes up to 3.4 m apart. Also shown was the conversion kit, which converts the production rig to a Boomer development rig in about two hours.

Atlas Copco says it is focusing on greater productivity through improved operator conditions. The Boomer 282 development drifting rig is now equipped with a new cabin that offers optimum safety and an internal sound level of 84 dB(A). The air-conditioned cab is designed to reduce noise and vibrations to the minimum, allowing the operator to concentrate on the drilling.

Atlas Copco Swellex roof anchors are steel tubes that expand with high-pressure water. During installation the bolt expands in the drill hole, following irregularities in the hole walls and increasing friction forces. Connectable Swellex is a new line designed for assembly and installation in low drift heights, and Inox Swellex is a stainless-steel version for highly corrosive environments.

The new Robbins RCC Series of carbide insert cutters and a modular family of reamers complement the new Robbins raise drill models. The BorPak from Robbins, the ingenious blindhole borer, was also displayed. Robbins' full-face tunnel-boring machines are finding increasing application in hard rock mines.

For core drilling, the new computer-controlled Diamec 264 APC automatically monitors the prevailing drilling conditions to provide maximum productivity. Atlas Copco says the APC function controls the entire drilling process to offer higher, constant rates of penetration and longer bit life while reducing wear on rods and core barrels, and it avoids common drilling mistakes due to human error. All the driller has to do is lift the rods into place and remove them at the end of each round trip. The APC automatically stops drilling at the end of each rod or in the event of a problem.

The ST1000 Scooptram, which replaces the ST-6C loader was featured on the exhibit along with two other loaders and an underground truck. A new radio remote-control system for Scooptrams was also introduced.

Caterpillar. While the company occupied a major part of the convention's exhibition area, Cat's real action was well south of Las Vegas' gambling tables at its Tucson, Arizona, proving grounds. Over the course of the convention it flew more than 3,000 of its customers there to see a sophisticated 45-minute mining-news video that gave the perspective of mining opinion leaders worldwide, as well as the entire product line, "in the dirt." Highlights among conventional products ranged from the Elphinstone remote-control-capable LHD, the 992 FEL's new, single-piece, cast-boom, and the new, 60-st, 24H model motor-grader. However, it was not the iron, but the copper - electrons, that is - that stood out.

Electrons were whizzing real-time in the 100-st capacity, 777 series truck - Cat's MINExpo star. The system was proven in a Texas limestone operation where 5,000 loads were transported over a 2.5 mile haul. Two units, with autonomous operation capability, gave a demonstration on a one-way cycle - due to space limitations.

At MINExpo, demonstrations were given of integrated mine-planning software and onboard displays coupled with GPS (global positioning systems). It has the near-term promise of allowing better selective operation (from dozers and graders to hydraulic excavators) interfaced interactively with the mine plan in the mine office.

The 24-satellite-based GPS hardware was seamlessly meshed with the ability of the pit foreman to define haul-truck routing by driving same with an appropriately outfitted pickup truck. It should be noted that GPS technology locates the truck to a tolerance of 0.5 m. A manned, 990-model FEL loaded the units, which traversed a circuitous, uphill grade to a simulated dump. Bed discharge and repositioning for loading looked like a human operator was aboard.

An exception, assuming the FEL lost a bucket tooth in loading a truck, was simulated. It showed how a pit foreman could remotely control/tram the truck to discharge the ore where it would not harm the crusher and could rejoin the loading cycle quickly. Indeed, a fellow Intertec Mining and Construction Group editor, Bob Drake, demonstrated that the joystick-based controls were easy to use with no training.

On the human- and equipment-safety side, specialized sensors - particularly radar - are key. The primary, front-mounted radar has a 100 m range. Anything [greater than]0.5-m size in the truck path will stop it with yards to spare. Each of the truck's four corners also are outfitted with radar units having a 20-ft range. With either sensor array, whenever a person, or other obstacle, is in the truck's path, it will stop until an authorized person resets the system. Similarly, any breakdown in the truck's navigation or other telemetry/monitoring systems will default to truck shutdown. As part of the demonstration, a Cat employee stepped in front of an oncoming autonomous truck to demonstrate the truck's auto-detect/stop capability.

Besides the potential payload enhancement of an automated truck, Cat claims that elimination of conventional operators could reduce hourly operating costs by about 20% and per ton costs by 10-15%. Of course the benefit of eliminating the need for skilled operators, who are increasingly difficult to find, cannot be quantified. Moreover, truck reliability and component wear improvements are concurrent benefits to automated operation.

Commercial versions of the autonomous truck are expected to be available in a couple of years. The 240 st, model 793C haultruck will be the next test-bed for automation, with that model's availability around 1999.

Clark Hurth featured its new T40000 powershift transmission for the 300-420 hp range. This transmission is used in mining vehicles such as LHDs and underground trucks and offers three-, four-, and six-speed full powershift transmission. The new compact design makes it possible to shorten overall vehicle length by 18 in.

Options in the T40000 series include converter lockup, either manual, electric, or automatic, for greater long-haul horsepower and fuel efficiency; inching control for vehicles requiring precise movement at high engine revolutions; hydrostatic drive mounting for vehicles with hydrostatic drive; and a clutch modulation valve to provide smooth forward or reverse shifts to increase productivity and provide drive-line protection. The T40000 can be fitted to a pump to provide three- and four-speed shifts.

Comsat has upgraded its Inmarsat land earth stations in all four ocean regions, installing new software to support 2.4 kbps data transmission, as well as telephone and 2.4 kbps fax. Comsat offers a broad range of services for international mining operations, including worldwide telephone, e-mail, fax, and high-speed data links via the Inmarsat satellite network, using portable terminals that can be quickly deployed and operated. Through its network of land earth stations, it provides seamless global satellite connections into international public switched telephone and data networks, permitting remote sites to be integrated into a company's information and communication infrastructure.

Conoco expects to begin marketing hydrocracked oils in Spring 1997, representing a new class of mining lubricants developed from a highly refined, all-paraffin-base oil that is claimed to be water-clear, pure, and free from reactive hydrocarbons and other impurities that can degrade conventional solvent-refined lubricants. The company's hydrocracking process reportedly shapes less-stable molecules into paraffins that are particularly suited for the severe cold and heat conditions frequently encountered by mining equipment and lubricants.

Conoco, a subsidiary of DuPont Co., expects its hydrocracked-base oil lubricants to exceed the performance of solvent-refined lubricants in oxidation stability, low carbon-forming tendencies, low volatility, viscosity stability and response to additives. Potential benefits to users may include longer equipment life, extended lube change intervals, lower lubricant consumption, improved fuel economy, and better hydraulic-system performance. Hydrocracked base oil is nontoxic and biodegradable, according to the manufacturer, and therefore can be disposed of more easily and safely than conventional lubricants. The company expects to begin phasing out its solvent-refined products by early 1998.

The Cummins Engine Co., Inc. will now produce more than 200 industrial engine ratings in a lineup that ranges from 77 to 6,000 hp. Its 1996 line, a "new generation" of "unprecedented" products, includes an upgraded B and C series engine and an introduction of the model M11 and N14 engines to the industrial markets. The Quantum Series had been expanded with six new engine models: the QSK19, QSK45, QSK60, QST30, QSW73, and QSW82. Cummins also has added three generator sets to its Quantum series: the QSZ90, QSZ121, and QSZ136.

The 16-cylinder QSW73 and the 18-cylinder QSW82 are specifically developed for mining applications. Set for release in 1997, the 73 has an expected rating of 3,200 hp, and the 82 has an expected rating of 3,600 hp. They both are equipped with the latest Celect system that continuously monitors and manages thousands of bits of information per second and can measure engine load and ambient air temperature. It also adjusts for changes in altitude. It can monitor fuel consumption and track a load profile.

At 19,180 lb, the QSW73 has a 0.167 hp/lb ratio, and the 23.6-1b QSW82 has a 0.153 hp/lb ratio. The engine life of the two, depending on the duty cycle, should each surpass 30K hr.

The company also introduced Cense, an advanced engine monitoring system, and a new software package known as Cummins Engineering Advisor (CEA). With CEA, a manufacturer can choose an engine specific to its needs. The software uses a range of options, from environmental conditions to duty cycles.

Euclid-Hitachi. To maintain its position in the very large hydraulic-excavator market, Hitachi has introduced the EX3500-3, a new and improved version of the company's 350-st class mining shovel. The EX3500 series is the largest shovel that Hitachi currently manufactures, and according to the company, it is one of the best selling mining shovels in its class worldwide. The new model offers several enhancements in the areas of operator comfort and convenience, controllability, productivity, and fuel efficiency, says Hitachi.

The series is designed to work well with trucks in the 150-190 st range. To cope with the trend toward increasingly large trucks, the machine's cab height has been raised by nearly 3 ft, increasing the operator's eye level to about 23 ft. To broaden downward visibility the cab now features a sloping design.

The EX3500-3 features a faster loading 23.5 [yd.sup.3] bucket to increase efficiency. It can move up to 3,600 st/hr material and can load a 190-st truck in six passes. The new model's auto-leveling crowd mechanism controlled by a single lever has a 2% greater crowd force than the previous model. The engine governor has also been replaced by the so-called Centry electronic governor to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust smoke.

At the same time, Hitachi has also introduced a new 250-st-class shovel designed to work with 130-150-st trucks: the EX2500. The excavator with a 18.3 [yd.sup.3] bucket can load material at a rate of 2,500-2,700 st/hr. It can load a 150-st truck in five to seven passes, with cycle times ranging from 25 to 40 sec.

Euclid-Hitachi Heavy Equipment Inc. introduced its newest hauler, the Euclid R260, which is designed to match today's very high capacity excavators in the largest mining applications. It is designed to match 30-50 yd excavators and shovels. The maximum haul capacity of the R260 is 262 st.

The new truck is powered by a S-4000 Detroit Diesel engine and a General Electric Statex III electric drive system. The truck employs the Euclid Accu-Trac suspension system to optimize ride and handing performance, says the manufacturer. The suspension has independent trailing arms for each front wheel with suspension cylinders containing energy-absorbing gas and a compressible fluid mounted between the king pins and the frame. Euclid says that this arrangement allows a wide front track that provides a better ride, improved stability, ease of serviceability, and reduced turning circle. This highly efficient suspension system isolates road shock input from the rest of the machine to provide greater ride comfort, longer life, and higher productivity.

The frame uses 44K lb/[in..sup.2] yield strength alloy steel for greater durability and large radii transitions to minimize stress and is robotically welded to insure one flawless, continuous weld. The body design features horizontal stiffeners, pioneered by Euclid, that lower stress concentrations by dissipating load shocks over the entire body length.

The cab features a wrap-around dashboard with controls and instrumentation positioned for easy reach and visibility. The Conitronic system monitors and diagnoses all on-board systems including the engine and drive system. Data links offer complete integration while a single liquid crystal display details machine function.

GE Transportation Systems' Statex III control for haul-truck, motorized-wheel drive systems has been redesigned to provide increased reliability, cost-effectiveness, and productivity, according to the manufacturer. Five electronic panels containing 33 circuit cards have been replaced by one panel containing five new cards, providing up to 35% more truck reliability. Other new features include Vari-Volt, two-position overspeed, and an alternator thermal simulator to facilitate optimum engine loading over a wide power range. The system's Retard Speed Control and available three- or seven-step extended-range retard capabilities allow full retarding while maintaining constant downhill speed to extend service brake life and avoid motorized wheel overspeed conditions.

Statex III uses a two-digit diagnostic display that immediately isolates most fault conditions to a specific component. If necessary, further troubleshooting can then be performed using a laptop computer. The system automatically maintains a continuous, cumulative record of more than 150 operational parameters including truck performance trends, event data, and equipment usage. The data can be stored on a standard 3.5-in. diskette in ASCII format for quick access and analysis. A portion of the data can also be tabulated for presentation in histogram format, providing useful "profile" information that can highlight subtle, but significant, changes in truck usage and performance.

Gemcom Services' flagship mine planning-and-design program, GS32 for Windows, has been refined to provide improved performance, faster graphics response, and increased use, according to the developer. Designed specifically for Microsoft's Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems, GS32 can be configured to view, edit, and model drill-holes, polygons, solids, surfaces, block models, and status maps together in 3-D.

It provides an integrated 2-D and 3-D graphical environment that features pulldown menus and interactive graphics with hidden line and surface rendering. Essential tools for mine design allow users to construct 3-D models of mine workings, such as stopes, shafts, headings, ramps and ore passes, and relate them to orebody models before calculating volumes, tonnages, and grades. Add-on applications packages for the base system enable automated open-pit and ramp design, drillhole compositing, block model creation, underground ring-drilling design, survey layouts, Laplace girding, and other capabilities.

Hagglunds Drives showed its hydraulic direct drives that Hagglunds says offer the best solution for any operation that needs torques up to 840K Nm (620K lb-ft) and speeds up to around 280 rpm.

The Hagglunds hydraulic motor is fitted directly onto the driven shaft without any special foundations or other complex equipment. It can be controlled fully across its entire speed range, and it provides full torque from standstill to maximum rotation speed.

Such drives are insensitive to shock loads or to tough environments, and they stop exactly when wanted to, due to low inertia. Hagglunds says that its hydraulic drives are about as maintenance-free as you can get, and that as an intelligent drive system, it makes all others look outdated.

Harding Lawson Associates (HLA), an engineering and environmental services company, has developed Integrated Software Systems (ISS) to serve its mining clients. ISS has designed a software package, called the Miner's Workbench, that can serve a spectrum of the mining industry's needs.

It blends data from geology, surface and underground mining, operations, statistics, CAD and GIS, and it can incorporate 3-D graphics with the data. Using Lynx, Arc View, IBM Data Explorer, Ingres, Statit, AutoCAD, and Eagles, the data can be moved within each application. It offers high-end software at low-end competitive pricing. The team can quickly perform functions and generate solutions based on various scenarios. A company's in-house software can also be accessed through the system.

Harnischfeger Industries. P&H Mining Equipment and Joy Mining Machinery staged side-by-side exhibits for the first time at the show with the theme of "Best for Both Worlds," referring to the advanced technology and support services that both companies offer for surface and underground mining respectively.

P&H is, of course, a leading supplier of electric rope shovels, hydraulic mining excavators, draglines, and large rotary blasthole drills. Joy Mining Machinery, which has been a part of the parent Harnischfeger Industries group since 1994, specializes in systems for longwall and room-and-pillar mining.

P&H introduced its new MinePro Services organization, which is comprised of regionally based distribution and service teams that interface directly with customers at surface mines to bring, in the words of P&H, "decision-making processes closer to the customer." The company displayed one of its new Predictive Diagnostics vans that are used by field engineers to call on mines and make "health audits" on key surface mining equipment on site.

Another introduction was the P&H Graphical User Interface technology for drills, shovels, and draglines. The GUI system monitors the equipment's vital signs displaying critical machine status information while pinpointing faults and providing trouble-shooting data. This feedback helps operators and maintenance crews prevent downtime and extends equipment production capabilities. P&H claims that it is the most efficient machine/operator interface of its kind to date.

P&H's position in dragline technology was underscored by the new model 9160, a powerful 160 [yd.sup.3] maximum bucket capacity machine that follows up the recently introduced 120-[yd.sup.3] 9020 model. Scale models and videos of these giant machines were displayed.

Joy showed two new continuous miners: the 12HM27 Hardrock Miner, a 2,300 V machine with a 38-in.-wide conveyor and a dual gathering head, and the 14CM9AA, a low-seam miner featuring a solid cutter head that can cut as low as 29.5 in.

A complete longwall system was displayed, including the new 7LS 2300 V high-horsepower, low- to mid-seam shearer that Joy claims is a leader in performance, reliability, and ease of maintenance. The low-seam armored face conveyor with 3,000 st/hr capacity and the Ultratec haulage system were also on show.

The two Harnischfeger Industries group companies have published a joint-reference brochure that summarizes in 18 pages the array of machines and services offered. The pages of P&H lists brief specifications for the rope shovels, draglines, hydraulic excavators, and rotary drills as well as describing the MinePro services.

The Joy section catalogs shearers, roof supports, and armored face conveyors for longwall systems and continuous miners, continuous haulage machines, and batch haulage machines for room-and-pillar mining systems.

J.D. Repower Inc. introduced the John Deere Gator 6 x 4 to the underground mining market, The 6 x 4 wheel drive vehicle performs well in muddy, swampy, and rough conditions. The two-person carrier with cargo dump bed is powered by a Kubota diesel MS HA-certified engine. The Gator's specifications include continuously variable transmission, a No. 50 industrial roller drive-chain, wet disk in transaxle brakes, a 79-in. front/rear wheel base, a 1,200 lb payload capacity, a turn clearance of 24.8 ft, and a 32 amp/hr battery with 295 cold-cranking amps.

Komatsu. By streamlining its mining industry-related operations and developing a worldwide, single-source service, Komatsu Ltd. is attempting to answer the industry's call for rapid, efficient globalization. Its new, U.S.-based Mining Group is intended to simplify purchasing, increase support functions, reduce support costs, and increase up-time.

As a result of the Demag joint venture, Komatsu now provides the leading line of large-size hydraulic mining shovels that includes the Komatsu Demag H 455 S shovel, a 2,250 hp, 1.1M-lb. unit. It now also offers one of the world's largest shovels, the 716.5-st H 485 S, and the one of the largest and most productive crawler-dozers, the 1,150 hp, 314,000-lb. D575A-2 Super Dozer. It currently owns one of the world's largest haul trucks, the 300-st Komatsu Haulpak 930E. March's purchase of Modular Mining Systems may bring Komatsu to the helm of mine management services.

The company abandoned the initial concept of strengthening itself as a mining package supplier. The partnerships now will allow Komatsu to serve as a total system supplier. They will offer packages not only of machinery and hardware but also of software.

The worldwide expansion of mining companies is but one factor for creating the mining division. Companies, understandably, require increased productivity. Not only do they consistently request larger equipment, they now opt for computerized systems to grab the competitive advantage. Komatsu's new onboard monitoring technology, installed in the 930E, allows for trouble detection and health monitoring of the machine with remote surveillance. Representatives from Komatsu believe that the system will dramatically improve machine control and reduce cost by enabling scheduled maintenance and repair for the distributor and the manufacturer.

As repair and maintenance are an integral part of equipment, Komatsu plans an original position within its mining division. In addition to its strengthened commitment to customers to refine its machines to make them more reliable, it also proposes to offer maintenance contracts with a fixed cost per hour.

LeTourneau Inc. showed the L-1800. the world's largest production front-end loader with an operating capacity of 50 st. The L-1800 is specifically designed to load haul trucks of the 240-st class and above.

The prototype L-1800 was introduced just two years ago at a coal mine in Wyoming. During its first year of operation, the L-1800 moved 1.102M st overburden and 4.986M st coal. This machine was equipped with a unique 45 [yd.sup.3] combination coal/overburden bucket. Cycle times in both coal and overburden averaged 35-40 seconds and fuel consumption averaged 50 gal/hr.

Since that time more than nine L-1800s have been delivered to coal mines in the Powder River Basin, iron ore mines in Eastern Canada, coal mines in the Hunter Valley in Australia, copper mines in Chile, and iron ore mines in Brazil.

The loader is powered by a 2,000 hp electronically controlled diesel engine driving LeTourneau's patented AC/DC four-wheel electric drive. LeTourneau claims the largest population of large electric wheel drive loaders with over 400 units currently operating on five continents.

A feature of the L-1800, which is of special importance to operators, is the automatic bucket leveling feature when the loader is dumping at full height.

LeTourneau also featured its new TLC (total lip coverage) bucket system whose design allows the system to provide a lower profile for better penetration while also staying sharper for longer. LeTourneau also claims that the TLC system weighs significantly less than other bucket systems and provides more yards per pass.

According to LeTourneau, the forged alloy tooth points and interchangeable components of the TLC system provide unparalleled bucket lip protection at a lower cost per ton. All TLC components are interchangeable for convenience and lower inventory cost. The TLC bucket system is now available for all four models of the big LeToumeau loaders up to the giant L-1800 displayed at MINExpo.

Liebherr. The company has developed a smaller brother to its KL-2450, 240 st capacity haul-truck. The new unit, designated KL-2420, has a 190 st capacity for mines needing that specific size vehicle. It utilizes enhanced welding procedures in its tubular-crossmember, A710-steel frame to effect very high impact properties to assure durability.

Liebherr has not forgotten the top end. It also announced that its KL-2640, 320-st-capacity haul truck will be in production in late 1997. Its frame design is similar to other models. Its engine package will roll out for maintenance, and the deck is removable as a unit, with cab, control box, and grid box mounted as they are on other Liebherr haulers. It will utilize a new Siemens AC-drive system, dynamic retarding, and blown grids, with maximum electric retarding as standard at 6,032 hp. Available engines include the DDC/MTU 6V4000 rated at 2,700 hp or the MTU 16V396 rated at 2,682 hp. Siemens claims that the AC drive system has 2-3% higher efficiency than comparable DC technology. Additionally, there are no brushes or commutators, and it provides higher torque at stall as well as higher maximum speeds. Brake wear is reportedly reduced to the improved retard function.

Master Builders Technologies (MBT) used a three story, 3-st mountain exhibit complete with three mine entries to showcase MBT's system of "concrete solutions for the mining environment." The "mine" demonstrated the use of concrete technology for ground control. The finished shotcrete walls highlighted anchoring, grouting, and injection applications.

MBT offers an advanced line of concrete products including accelerators, stabilizers, activators, water reducers, fiber systems, air entrainers, corrosion inhibitors, and curing compounds.

MBT also offers shotcrete equipment under the Meyco and Allentown brands.

The company has reintroduced its Accel-A-Set 2000 powdered shotcrete accelerator specifically designed for the mining industry. MBT says that this accelerator is still the best product for dry shot-crete for underground mining and outperforms all other products at equal doses. Because its pH is nearly neutral, it poses no hazards to worker safety or environment. It yields initial set times, early strength gains, and higher ultimate strength at lower doses thus giving greater economy.

Two challenges face users of concrete for support applications. These are the time constraints caused by concrete's quick hydration process and the need to maintain the concrete's consistency so that it will flow, pump, or spray easily.

MBT claims that it is the only company that can offer mine operators the ability to control both hydration and consistency of concrete using its Delvocrete hydration control system and its TCC total consistency control. The Delvocrete technology provides economical engineering alternatives to help mine operators stabilize concrete at the beginning of the hydration process. TCC reactivates and accelerates the hydration process for shotcreting, grouting, or injection.

Michelin North America announced that its Earthmover tire facility in Lexington, S.C., will manufacture off-the-road tires. It will be the company's first North American plant devoted to the tires.

Michelin plans to spend from $150M to $280M for the facility. Michelin also plans to expand its North American operations over the next five years, investing a total of $500M.

Also, Michelin Americas Tires has developed one of the world's largest radial tires, the 55/80R57 XMineD2 L5. It was created for the Caterpillar 994 and other mining-sized wheel loaders. It is one of the first radial tires of this magnitude to hit the commercial market.

The 12.2-ft tall, 4.6-ft wide, 12,350-lb XMineD2 is designed for loaders working in some of the toughest and most demanding operating conditions. With its radial construction, the XMineD2 overcomes many of the limitations of bias ply tires and offers a smoother ride, lower rolling resistance, improved traction, and faster tramming speeds. Field evaluations suggest a tire life of up to two times longer than bias tires. It has been tested on machines at five sites in four different applications across the United States.

National Institute for Safety and Occupational Health (NIOSH). This U.S. agency exhibited at MINExpo and is the new home for the former U.S. Bureau of Mines' Spokane and Pittsburgh research centers. The Pittsburgh Research Center's director, John Murphy, gave some insights for Intertec Publishing's (E&MJ's parent company) video of the show. He particularly focused on the joint industry/government committee that first met Feb. 22 and represents eight organizations. The committee's goal is to develop a consensus on all processor-based systems, increasingly incorporated in mining equipment that should operate - and fail - in a safe mode. Indeed, mining has not adopted such processors as quickly or broadly as other industries. However, one example of the need has been evidenced in uncommanded movements by automated underground longwall-shields. The committee is focusing on software, human/machine interfaces, system operation, and equipment rebuilding. Its emphasis is current and foreseeable (for the next five years) mining equipment in all mining sectors, i.e. surface, underground, metal, non-metal, and coal.

Orenstein and Koppel. O&K is increasing its market span with its new RH400 excavator. It tips the scales at 1.54M lb and wields a 52.3 [yd.sup.3] bucket that has a crowd force of 471.9K lb. It is ideally matched to 240-300-st capacity haul-trucks. The first unit will soon be mining the tar sands of Canada (E&MJ, June 1996, p. 50WW); Syncrude Canada Ltd., which already operates two RH 200 excavators in northern Alberta, has placed an order for the newly designed RH 400, with a 45-[m.sup.3] bucket. The order is worth $10M, and the RH 400 will be delivered in 1997. O&K demonstrated how users can obtain information and send queries via its comprehensive World Wide Web site.

Wildlife Control Technology Inc. Bird balls. The name alone stopped passersby. But they presented an impressive product: an easy-to-install, no-hassle way to keep waterfowl from landing in industrial ponds. Wildlife Control Technology Inc. claims the bird balls work better than traditional netting for many reasons: birds cannot get stuck in the balls - in fact, they only see balls, not water, so they don't try to land; the balls hold up under harsh conditions such as wind and snow: they are completely portable; blow-molded HDPE, of which they are made, never needs maintenance; and bird balls reduce natural degradation caused by volatilization and photo-decomposition.
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Publication:E&MJ - Engineering & Mining Journal
Date:Dec 1, 1996
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